Rep. Cuellar Pushes Back on Biden Border Claim: Increase in Crossings 'Not Seasonal' This March 20, 2021, photo provided by the Office of Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, shows detainees in a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) temporary overflow facility in Donna, Texas. President Joe Biden's administration faces mounting criticism for refusing to allow outside observers into facilities where it is detaining thousands of immigrant children. (Office of Rep. Henry Cuellar via AP)
By Solange Reyner | Monday, 12 April 2021 03:59 PM
Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, on Monday pushed back on the Biden administration’s claim that the increase in border crossings is a seasonal issue.
“It's not seasonal. We do have the months of March, April, May, June that are peak months. This is not seasonal,” Cuellar said Monday during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
White House communications director Kate Bedingfield in late March said the record surge of unaccompanied migrant children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border was a “cyclical issue,” while White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the increase was “seasonal” or “often cyclical.”
The numbers prove they aren’t. In March, border agents encountered nearly 19,000 children traveling alone at the border, the largest number recorded in a single month since the Border Patrol started publishing the numbers in 2009.
Cuellar said there are ways to fix the crisis.
“One of the things we have to keep in mind is that we do have to look at the push factors and the pull factors. Democrats, if you notice, usually talk about the push factors. Republicans usually talk about the pull factors. You have to lock at both the push factors and pull factors and the long-term and the short-term goals that you want to do in the push factors are long term,” he told host Joe Scarborough.
“I was here in the appropriations when the first big wave we saw in 2014. We added the first $750 million for Central America and the vice president was the lead point – Joe Biden was the lead point at that time for President Obama.
“We worked on long-term and short-term. Long-term is investment. Anybody that understands the appropriations, let's look at it. We will appropriate the money at the end of the year. By the time we move on this, it’s going to be next year. We have to look at the long term. But at the same time, we have to get those countries to do a lot more. In fact, I have talked to all the ambassadors. We got personal meetings this week from the ambassadors in Central America to address and talk about some of the short-term issues.”
The Biden administration is reportedly spending at least $60 million per week to care for more than 16,000 migrant teenagers and children in shelters operated by the Department of Health and Human Services, according to an analysis of data obtained by the Washington Post.
CBP said this week there were more than 172,300 encounters with migrants on the border in March, a 71 percent increase over February.